And it’s that time of the year again, where Bollywood gurus start converting the critics into listicles.

Edging 2017, we grab our hopes tight to welcome the volcanic eruption of upcoming Bollywood movies. Amidst some remarkable debuts and heart-wrenching performances, what 2016 also gave us are some extremely talented little stars.

Gone are those times when child actors’ only purpose was to either carry forward a character’s journey or cascade the innocence & emotional quotient of a movie. Forthcoming is a phase in Indian Cinema, where specific roles will be penned down for them. Last year, we witnessed some memorable performances by child actors, where not only were they an integral part of the plot but gave a sublime effect to the whole storytelling.

What is a dessert without a sweet and mouth watering effect? That sugar was the performance by Lehar Khan (Janki) in ‘Parched’, Ria Shukla (Apeksha) in ‘Nil Battey Sannatta’ or Soham Maitra (Santu) in ‘Chauranga’ to name a few. While Neel Sethi resurfaced our childhood memories as lovable Mowgli in the American film ‘The Jungle Book’, British child artist Abigail Eames swept our hearts away as little adorable Gaura in the action-packed Bollywood thriller ‘Shivaay’. A cinematic salute to these well deserved wonderful children. Their acts truly signal a change to question our thoughts on age and art delivery of an artist.


Here is a list of such talents to reckon with in Indian cinema whose performances assure a glorious future of Bollywood.

  1. Lehar Khan as Janki in Parched

Already a recipient of Dada Saheb Phalke award for her brilliant act in Jalpari – The Desert Mermaid, 14-year-old Lehar Khan puts her soul into the character of child bride Janki in critically acclaimed movie Parched. She has held the grip of the audience, despite the presence of such powerful actresses such as Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte & Surveen Chawla.


  1. Ria Shukla as Apeksha in Nil Battey Sannatta

Having already shown her talent in TV’s reality shows like ‘D.I.D’ and ‘India Ke Hunarbaaz’, this 17-year-old girl makes her debut with comedy drama movie, Nil Battey Sannatta. With her excellent portrayal of the daughter of a household help who is uninterested in education, she sure sets a foot closer to making her dreams true in Bollywood.



  1. Soham Maitra as Santu in Chauranga

Set in the rural village backdrop, this story tugs at viewers’ heart with sensitivity. Also known for his key roles in movies like ‘Chaplin’ and ‘Ghuri’, this appealing boy imbibes enough intensity in the movie to moist your eyes as a 14-year-old Dalit (low caste) boy, who gets killed for writing a love letter.



  1. Zaira Wasim & Suhani Bhatnagar as Geeta Phogat & Babita Phogat in Dangal

What more you could ask for in a sports movie than such dedicated and charming child artists to display the initial struggle of a sportsperson. 16-year-old Zaira and 12-year-old Suhani makes your heart skip a beat with their attitude when they enter the ring & wrestle in this brilliantly crafted biopic. While Zaira already has ‘Secret Superstar’ in her kitty, these girls already proved that they are here to stay long in Bollywood.



  1. Hetal Gada & Krrish Chhabria as Pari & Chotu in Dhanak

A simple story made delightful by superb performances of kids who are the soul of this movie. These two adorable children charm their way directly in our hearts as a girl who sets on a journey with her visually impaired brother to meet Shahrukh Khan and fulfill her promise to get his vision back.



  1. Vishal Bansal as Rohan in Madaari

He has been active on Indian Television for quite some time in shows like Mahadev, Beintehaa, Iss Pyaar ko Kya Naam Doon etc, but popularly known for playing young Karna in Surya Putra Karna & young Buddha in Buddha. Also featured in the movie Bombay Talkies, he made a mark by playing a smart kid who gets kidnapped in the socio-thriller movie Madaari that released this year.



  1. Prabhjyot Singh as Balli in Udta Punjab

Gaining outright popularity as a doped teenager in his debut film, Udta Punjab, this 16-year-old actor has a great potential to mark his presence felt amongst an ensemble cast. Having done a theater play from where he was picked up for the audition, he has also featured in a Hotstar ad for IPL.



  1. Naisha Khanna as Minnie Dewan in Kahaani 2

Remember the cute and enchanting girl from the movie Brothers. This 7-year-old girl who has been a part of many Tv commercials and serials wins huge applause for the portrayal of a victim of child molestation in the latest thriller Kahaani 2.



  1. Diya Chalwad as Naomi in Rocky Handsome

The pain of a left out child who gets abducted by a drug mafia couldn’t be more felt if this 8-year-old endearing girl didn’t plunge that effect in the action thriller movie Rocky Handsome. Also was a part of Disney show Oye Jassie, her chemistry with John Abraham in the movie is something to praise for.


Apoorv Jaiswal
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Apoorv Jaiswal

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